Amazon has confirmed plans to bring the enhanced Fire TV experience to more streaming set-top boxes
Amazon drastically redesigned its Fire TV user experience late last year, with separate user profiles for everyone in your household, better suggestions based on your past box set binges, and a new Live tab that collects sports matches and concerts. The latest generation Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, which launched last year, arrived on store shelves with the latest out-of-the-box software. However, it took longer for the update to arrive with some older Amazon hardware.
Thankfully, more Fire TV owners can now enjoy the new design. Amazon today confirmed that owners of Fire TV Stick (second generation), Fire TV Smart TVs and Fire TV Soundbars can get their hands on the update “in the coming weeks.”
This latest expansion follows the launch of the operating system boost called the “New Fire TV Experience” on Fire TV Stick (3rd generation) and Fire TV Stick Lite in December and the spring launch on Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, and Fire TV (third generation, known as the “Pendant Design”).
For those who missed the initial announcement about the massive upgrade to Fire TV — easily one of the biggest in its history — the redesign completely redesigns the home screen.
The new design aims to bring all your favorite shows, movies and games together in one place. Amazon has added a few easy-to-access shortcuts to your favorite apps in addition to the Search, Library, and Live tabs, all of which are pretty straightforward. But most of the UI is filled with tiles of all the shows you’re currently watching through your streaming services and suggestions for new movies and shows to discover based on your viewing history.
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Some of these features were available in the previous software update, but what makes such a difference this time around is the arrival of user profiles. Yes, the new Fire TV experience allows viewers to switch between up to six profiles for individual family members or roommates.
Each of these profiles has its own personalized suggestions based on viewing history. While Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service has had user profiles for a while, the feature didn’t extend to the Fire TV hardware itself. As such, shows and movies would be suggested based on everything watched on the television.
Fire TV would thus suggest new movies based on movies watched by parents in the evenings and children in the mornings. Needless to say, this could lead to some pretty confusing suggestions or younger viewers could stumble upon a post-watershed show shown centrally on the Fire TV homepage. Similarly, shortcuts to resume box sets would appear side by side indiscriminately based on who was watching the show.
With the advent of these new user profiles, these shortcuts will now be distributed based on who was logged in when entering a series. So, if you’re only on a few episodes Mare by Easttown and Industry, but your partner has tied the season finale – these are separate and only appear if the correct person is logged in.
Not only that, but each user profile has their own watch list, so you can queue up a list of movies and shows you’d like to watch – and it won’t affect anyone else watching the same TV as they can create their own lists. . Profiles should ensure that everyone gets a very personalized experience when using a Fire TV. Until now, that only applied to people who live alone… or have another Fire TV Stick in every room of the house.
In addition to profiles, Amazon has tweaked the way it makes recommendations. After the update, you will see a new Search tab at the top of the UI. This is designed to bring together all the box sets and movies that Amazon thinks you will like based on your previous viewing experience. As before, these will feature recommendations from various streaming services – not just Prime Video – so expect to see new box sets from Disney+, Shudder and Netflix in the mix as well.
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